Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is widely regarded as one of the best tacticians in the history of football. Since taking charge of Barcelona’s first team in July 2008, the Spaniard has taught the world how to play attractive football without compromising on the end product.
Apart from the Blaugrana, Guardiola has managed two more European powerhouses, Bayern Munich and, of course, Manchester City. He has won two Champions League trophies and 10 league titles in total, amongst other honors, bagging the IFFHS World’s Best Club Coach award twice (2009, 2011).
Over the course of his 14-year-old managerial career, Guardiola has interacted with many special players. Recognizing their potential, he has helped elevate their game, allowing them to establish themselves as one of the best in the business.
Today, we will take a look at five players who have made the most of Guardiola’s wisdom and emerged as potent goalscorers.
Below, we will take a look at five footballers who have bagged the highest number of goals under the 51-year-old manager.
#5 Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich) – 79 goals
Thomas Muller, one of the most intelligent players in the world right now, played under the great Guardiola for three seasons. The former Barca midfielder took charge of Bayern Munich in the 2013-14 campaign and made Muller one of the main pieces of his grand puzzle.
Guardiola used Muller’s versatility to his advantage and gave the German the utmost freedom to roam all over the pitch. Almost impossible to track, Muller regularly popped up in dangerous areas and pitched in with important goals and assists.
Muller took part in 148 games across competitions under Guardiola, recording 79 goals and 44 assists.
Under the Spaniard’s tutelage, Muller and Bayern won three consecutive Bundesliga titles, two German Cups, one UEFA Super Cup, and one Club World Cup.
The 32-year-old’s most lethal campaign came in the 2015-16 season, with him scoring a whopping 32 goals in 49 appearances across competitions.
#4 Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City) – 94 goals
Gabriel Jesus joined Manchester City from Palmeiras for a €32 million fee in January 2017. With Sergio Aguero running riots for the Citizens at the time, Jesus did not get many opportunities to make his mark.
Under Guardiola, who joined the club six months later, he did not play as often as he would have liked. But the manager certainly helped him improve his decision-making in the final third of the pitch.
The 25-year-old took part in 235 games in all competitions under the Spaniard between 2017 and 2022, scoring 94 goals and providing 46 assists. The Brazilian’s reached the apex of his goalscoring prowess in the 2019-20 season, with him scoring 23 goals in 53 matches across competitions for City.
During their time together, the new Arsenal player won four Premier League titles, four League Cups, and an FA Cup, amongst other honors.
#3 Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) – 120 goals
Having made his name at Liverpool, Raheem Sterling joined Manchester City in July 2015 for a €63.7 million fee. The winger received harsh treatment from Liverpool fans for switching to a rival club and was struggling to prove his worth on the pitch.
Guardiola’s appointment in 2017 gave him a new direction, changing his life for the better.
Sterling, out of contract with City in 2023, has so far played 292 games under the former Bayern boss, registering 120 goals and 85 assists.
The England international has won four Premier League titles since July 2017. He enjoyed his best-ever campaign in the 2019-20 season, bagging 31 goals in 52 games across competitions
It remains to be seen if he remains at the Etihad Stadium beyond the summer, with Chelsea interested in signing him (as per Goal).
#2 Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) – 124 goals
A hero of Manchester City’s iconic 2011-12 Premier League-winning campaign, Sergio Aguero has cemented his place as a true-blue legend in English football.
The Argentine maverick joined the Citizens from Atletico Madrid ahead of the 2011-12 season. Over the next 10 years, he scored 260 goals in 390 appearances, emerging as the club’s all-time leading goalscorer.
Aguero was already a superstar when Guardiola took charge of City in 2017. The former Barcelona coach gave the Argentine the freedom he craved and the striker repaid his faith by scoring goals for fun.
Aguero scored 124 goals and provided 29 assists in 182 matches in all competitions under the former Spain international.
His best-ever season under Guardiola came in the 2018-19 campaign, with him netting 32 times in 46 matches in all competitions.
#1 Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona) – 211 goals
Sitting at the top, by a country mile, is Guardiola’s favorite pupil Lionel Messi.
The Barcelona legend, who came through the renowned La Masia academy, has scored a plethora of goals and provided a bucketload of assists in his decorated career. But his best spell came under Guardiola at Barcelona between 2008 and 2012.
Expectedly, Messi was one of the first names on Guardiola’s teamsheets during his four-season managerial stint with the senior Barca team. The superstar forward took part in 219 games under the renowned manager, bagging an eye-popping 211 goals and 90 assists.
Guardiola initially used Messi as a right-winger, but eventually thought of using him as a false 9, thus unlocking his goalscoring potential.
Messi, who won three La Liga titles and two Champions League trophies amongst other honors under the Spaniard, unleashed hell upon his opponents in the 2011-12 campaign.
The Argentine superstar ended the season with a record 73 goals and 32 assists in 60 games across competitions. He won the ‘Pichichi’ and the ‘European Golden Shoe’ for his blazing campaign, creating a record that stands untouched to this day.